Mix Reactions to CDC’s New Mask Guidelines

Day 420: Stay Safe Minnesota

The removal of masks became the first bipartisan activity of the Biden era, writes The New York Times.

The masks mandate has been a very controversial and a polarizing political issue from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recent announcement that vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks was a great relief for many. “It was a great moment of liberation after a year of intense stress and fear, but also one of trepidation for many as the policy created a whole new set of complex questions for parents, employers, business owners and the millions of Americans who are still hesitant to get shots,” write CNN’s Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson.

We’ve had too much conflict, too much bitterness, too much anger, too much polarization of this issue about wearing masks.

President Biden, at the White House (source: The New York Times)

You know, some may say — just feel more comfortable continuing to wear a mask. So, if you’re someone with a mask, you see them, please treat them with kindness and respect.

President Joe Biden (source: The New York Times)

In The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Nicholas Fandos write: “It was a memorable moment that underscored in a very public way just how isolating these past million or so months have been — for one, small talk is harder than it used to be — and just how suddenly the green light toward normalcy had arrived.”

US Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, Senator from Kentucky, as he walked out of the Senate maskless, and reportedly said:

“Free at last.”

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that the CDC’s announcement does not mean that the current pandemic is over and people could return to normal life without any health precautions.

Being able to go around without a mask, indoors as well as outdoors, is really a big step in that direction. I wouldn’t want to declare victory prematurely, but I’m saying this is clearly a step in the direction that we want to go.

Dr Anthony Fauci, Diector of NIAID (source: CNN)

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CNN that people should still wear masks who must sit close together in tight quarters. “In circumstances where people are packed close together and you don’t know the status of immunization of everybody, it is still the better part of being cautious to wear masks on those planes and trains and buses. Once we get further along with an even higher degree of immunization, and the viral infections — which are still 30,000 a day — really continue to drop down, we’ll be able to relax those as well.”

While many states immediately dropped their masks after the announcement, others said ‘they need to take time to look at their state’s specific COVID situation, and health experts, state and local governments, business owners, and the public have had similar guarded reactions’.

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) released a statement: “SHEA strongly cautions against relaxing transmission mitigation efforts including masking in communities with ongoing high rates of transmission and within healthcare settings.”

The University of Minnesota based CIDRAP writes: “Minnesota is one state in which mask mandates changed in light of the CDC’s announcement. However, unlike states such as Oregon, Kentucky, Washington, West Virginia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, Minnesota’s new policy covers both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.”

Citing Minnesota local newspaper Star Tribune, CIDRAP writes: “Local governments and other institutions may set up their own regulations, and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has already said the city will continue indoor mask use. Some private businesses have also requested that people still wear masks.”

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of May 21, 9 a.m.) 354,914,965 doses have been distributed and 281,595,351 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of May 20) a total of 5,090,995 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of May 19) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 596,186 (out of 9,723,028 tested) with 7,325 deaths.